17

If I'm recalling correctly, a man takes a vacation by putting his consciousness into a horse or dog brain (I think), and he loves it so much—specifically, the freedom that animals' simplistic consciousness grants—that he keeps going back into that animal's brain. By the end of the story, though, the man has become so simple-minded that he can't remember he used to be a human, so he can't recall how to exit this animal brain.

This story has haunted me for decades, but I can't remember the author/title/collection!

8
  • 1
    Hi and welcome to the site! Please do take the tour to learn about how voting and accepting answers work! If you can edit in any more details, as per the guidance under the story-identification tag, that would be great.
    – AncientSwordRage
    Jan 18 at 17:32
  • 1
    Kathleen Ann Goonan wrote a story, "Memory Dog," about a man who implants his memories and, to some extent, his psyche in a dog, but 2008 is probably much too late.
    – DavidW
    Jan 18 at 18:27
  • Thank you, @DavidW. But yes, I believe this date is too late. But I'll check it out just in case! Jan 18 at 21:52
  • 1
    Your question reminded me of a similar story - maybe the same story. A man on Earth is bored and goes to a psychologist or psychiatrist who suggests the man spend somtime as an animal. He has himself transformed into a big cat (lion or tiger or something) and spends some time on the estate of a girl friend. There's some kind of attack on the Earth, and the guy can't be transformed back into himself. I think at one point he saves his girl friend from the invaders. At the end, he becomes more and more an animal. He gets hungry. The story ends implying that the tiger is going to eat her.
    – JRE
    Jan 19 at 12:36
  • 1
    This exact problem also occurs in some of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, specifically some of those featuring witches and their ability to ‘borrow’ the minds of other animals.
    – gidds
    Jan 20 at 21:20

2 Answers 2

6

Could be "Desertion" by Clifford Simak. See the previous question: Looking for title of sci fi short story about attempts to colonise planet (Venus?). Scientist and his dog are main characters

3
  • 2
    That could potentially be it, but it doesn't quite match the OP's description. (1) The protagonist transforms into an alien, rather than a terrestrial animal; (2) he only undergoes the process once; and (3) he retains his intellect and is perfectly capable of returning, but chooses not to because he enjoys his new body's enhanced abilities. (Also, the title is "Desertion", not "Jupiter".)
    – David
    Jan 18 at 20:22
  • 1
    Yup, I got the title wrong. Thanks. But as I recall the protagonist does return to human at least once, so that he can spread the word that the transformation is a good thing.
    – Ethan
    Jan 18 at 21:40
  • 1
    This story is certainly in the ballpark—thanks @Ethan!—but the story I'm looking for is more about someone who can, by the end, no longer process things as a human once he's in the animal brain. Thus, in the end he forgets to, or loses interest in, or loses the ability to, go back to being a person. It's not an intentional non-return to humanity; it's accidental and more tragic in tone. Jan 18 at 21:56
3

It’s a longshot as I’ve read it a long time ago and my recollection is faded nowadays, but I seem to recall that “A Matter of Form” by H.L. Gold has something to with a guy’s consciousness transplanted into a dog: and at the end of the story the guy can’t be reverted back to human so comes to terms with being a freak show wonderdog.

It was first published in Astounding in 1938 and then reprinted countless times.

3
  • 2
    In A Matter of Form doctor (Dr. Moss) finds that the seat of consciousness is the pineal gland and he transplants people's pineal glands into dogs to transfer the consciousness to the dog. But this is a "mad scientist" type plot. The subjects aren't willing and they don't do it for a vacation. Jan 19 at 13:46
  • 1
  • Thanks, all! That was a fascinating story. Again, it's in the ballpark—but it's not the one I was looking for; the one I recall involves someone who chooses to go back into an animal body again and again, until he forgets who he was/becomes content with his life as this animal. Jan 19 at 22:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.